TECH SUPPLIER Sep 2021 - IDC Survey Spotlight - Doc # US48221421

Future of Operations Worldwide Survey, 2021: Technology Priorities for Operations Are Evolving

By: Leif EriksenResearch Vice President, Future of Operations

Abstract

This IDC Survey Spotlight focusses on the current top technology investment priorities in operations (IDC describes operations as including any activity or a physical process which is integral to executing an organization's core business including producing goods or services, moving goods or services, and maintaining assets, infrastructure, or facilities). It is a snapshot from the Future of Operations Worldwide Survey, 2021.

In the previous IDC's Future of Operations Survey Spotlight, we highlighted the accelerated movement of operational data to the cloud. This IDC Survey Spotlight reinforces that trend as survey respondents gave cloud top billing in their list of investment priorities for the next five years. This bolsters our prediction that the amount of operational data in the cloud should double again next year.

Wireless connectivity is also a top investment priority over the next five years. This is a reflection of the need to connect more data sources and collect more data. The need for more, and better, data is an overriding theme in the survey results and will be highlighted in later analysis. Respondents were not asked to specify to the wireless protocols they favor, but this is often simply a function of cost and capabilities.

Rounding out the top 3 investment priorities is artificial intelligence (AI) or machine learning (ML). This is the most interesting selection because elsewhere in the survey we found that AI projects had delivered mixed results to date. No doubt there is an element of pressure to find uses for AI/ML in operations if only because of the successes experienced with AI/ML in other segments of the economy. This oversimplifies the dynamic however as we also found that there is a correlation between success with AI/ML and other organizational metrics. More on this in future analysis.

Other hyped technologies such as AR/VR and 3D printing fell to the bottom of the list of investment priorities. In the case of the former, it's a function of its relative immaturity and, to a certain extent, the lack of compelling use cases in operations. In the case of the latter, it's a function of the niche aspect of the technology and the business case in operations.


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